Born in England in 1957 my family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008.
We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. David passed away in 2015 and I'm here on my own now but I have Cindy the dog and Polly the cat to keep me company.
I currently co-write two Wordpress blogs with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania.
This challenge turned out to be a little harder for me than I thought. I don’t mind pastel colours but I prefer brighter, more vibrant shades so I don’t own a lot of pastels or soft coloured things and of course, a lot of my stuff is still packed in boxes. Our new garden leans towards vibrantly coloured flowers rather than pastels too but let’s see what we can find around the house. I wish you could smell these candles.
Outside I found a few softer colours. Our one rose bush is a pale, pastel pink. I don’t know the proper name of the flowering shrub but we have a lot of these. The tree is some type of gum, sorry the gardening books are still packed but I will look up the proper name. It is right opposite our upper deck and it is very popular with the birds.
We’ve all had those phone calls from non-profit organisations wanting us to support them either once-off by buying raffle tickets or merchandise or more frequently these days by making an ongoing financial commitment. I don’t like getting them because I feel guilty that I must so often say no. There are so many causes that need our help and they are all worthy, helping children get an education, medical research, animal welfare, the environment. It’s easy to donate if you are well off and it will even be tax-deductible. It’s a lot tougher if you are hard up yourself.
Many people don’t like to deal with charities because they feel that a great deal of their money will end up going to administration and not to the people or animals that need it. That’s not unreasonable because it does happen. I respect and admire the work of the Salvation Army but many people tell me that their Op Shops, and those of other big non-profits, are becoming almost too expensive for people on low incomes to shop in. I suppose it’s inevitable, they run them as businesses, sometimes with paid managers. Their core business is fundraising, not providing affordable goods to low-income earners.
However, there are many ordinary people making a difference to the lives of others, just quietly going about their business and not thinking of any reward. As you know I volunteered at the Op Shop in Geeveston for about three years. The shop was started about eight years ago by Juarne Bird and her sister Rowena to help the local community by having affordable goods for sale and also by providing opportunities for some of the young mums in the area to get some work experience volunteering at the shop. After the first few years, she had to find larger premises and that is how the shop came to be at the local school in an unused classroom. As well as donating to the school the shop supports many other local organisations with donations. All the staff are still volunteers.
Many people in the Huon Valley are what Aussies call “Battlers”. There is not a lot of work and something like the bushfires last summer can be devastating for local businesses. However, there is a strong sense of community and people try to help each other out even if they don’t have a lot themselves.
I want to mention my friend Karen Brown who I worked with at the Op Shop. During the bushfires, the shop was closed for a couple of weeks but Karen was busy. As well as taking in various friends and relatives and assorted pets who had to evacuate she spent hours every day cooking and taking food to the evacuation centre in Huonville where many people were sheltering. She bought a lot of the food with her own money. Nobody asked her to do it. She just did. This was not just for a couple of days, I think it was for about two weeks.
Photo by “Spelio” 4 Feb 2019 on Flickr.
Those of you who use social media may be familiar with “Pay It Forward” sites. Basically, the way they work, with a few variations is that someone donates an item to the site which people can ask for and then the recipient, in turn, donates an item to the site. A local lady called Lyn Duggan decided to start one of these sites on Facebook and by doing this has been able to help out a lot of needy families in the area as people often donate multiple items She ended up having to buy a shipping container to store goods in. As well as sorting and bagging goods to be donated Lyn also cooks meals for families who are doing it tough. This year she has, with help from a few others involved with the site, collected and wrapped hundreds of Christmas presents as well. Apart from donations of goods, from members on the PIF site, Lyn spends a lot of her own money. Again nobody asked her to do it; she saw a need and she set out to do something about it.
I personally think that people like Juarne, Karen and Lyn should get some kind of recognition for what they do in the community so even though I don’t know if any of them will read this I’m putting it out there that these are pretty awesome women.
When a big event is on the horizon people often ask me if I’m excited.
“Are you excited to be going on a cruise?” “Are you excited now that you are moving?”
My usual answer is “No. Not yet.” It’s not that I am blase about everything. Far from it. I can still get excited about a lot of things but something big like a trip or a move I get nervous. I feel I have to concentrate on the things that need to be done before I can relax and enjoy it. If I’m going on holidays I want to make sure I have taken care of all the details, the pets are being looked after, tickets and money have been organised and I haven’t forgotten to pack anything important like my passport. Then there is getting to the airport, we must leave early enough not to be held up if there is an accident en route. Don’t laugh, that has happened, so our habit of being at the airport an hour before we need to check in has served me well. Once I’m checked in I can relax and start thinking about the journey, at least until we get to the next place I need to present tickets, passports etc. However, there are moments, like the moment we pulled into Circular Quay Station in Sydney and saw a cruise ship for the first time, that excitement takes over. Naomi and I were so excited to see Explorer of the Seas for the first time that we couldn’t get to it fast enough.
As for moving. Nobody gets excited about moving. It’s all lawyers and real estate agents, packing and cleaning. I was too tired to be excited and I was sad to say goodbye to my house and my friends. I was excited to get on the road and drive to Sisters Beach for the first time though. That was like the road trips we used to do. A trip in the car with music playing and the prospect of something to look forward to at the other end.
When I was younger I used to get excited on days we were going on steam train trips. I remember how we would get into Adelaide well before departure time and when we could hear the train whistling as it backed into the yard I would run up the platform in sheer excitement, and I am no runner. There are still things worth getting excited about but maybe I’ve grown a little cautious of getting excited too soon in case I jinx things.
Recent posts about reading and writing have made me wonder just what people read these days? When I started reading eBooks I noticed that a lot of the books available through Amazon at least seem to be series books on a theme and it makes me wonder if it is easier to get books published if you write to a formula. Fellow bloggers who have had books published may like to comment.
I am just curious about what sort of books people like to read. I’ve always been an eclectic reader myself. I go through periods of reading different types of books. I like biographies and autobiographies. I recently finished listening to “Becoming” by Michelle Obama and enjoyed it very much. I’ve read and enjoyed books about movie stars, royalty, and cricketers as well as political figures.
I like travel and lifestyle books especially if they are humourous. I recently finished one called “Apple Island Wife” by Fiona Stocker about a family who relocated to Tasmania from Queensland and their life on a farm. I especially liked it because it was about Tasmania but I always enjoy this genre. “The Egg and I” and other books by Betty MacDonald are favourites from way back. I read Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson and others for travel stories including some very old books I’ve bought at book sales or second- hand book shops.
I have favourite novels I read over and over. Some of them are classic literature. “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins, “Pride and Prejudice”, “Villette”, “Vanity Fair” although I have to be in the mood for that. I love “A Christmas Carol” but although I have read “Oliver Twist”, “David Copperfield” and have tried to read some other Dickens books he is rather hard work to read.
I used to read a lot of science fiction, I still do occasionally. David introduced me to Isaac Asimov and I enjoyed his early books, the ones he wrote later in life not so much. I felt he was tying himself in knots trying to connect everything he had written previously. A lot of SF books can be grim and these days if I want grim I’ll read the news. I go back to the humorous ones like “Where Were You Last Pluterday?” , “The Technicolour Time Machine” by Harry Harrison and of course “The Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy”. A few months ago I was trying to read a book called “The Last Librarian” but abandoned it about halfway through because I was finding it somewhat depressing. I may or may not go back and finish it sometime.
At the Op Shop, where the bookroom was one of my pet projects, I often saw familiar authors on the shelves. I’ve read plenty of John Grisham books, Jeffrey Archer and Bryce Courtenay. I’d see David’s favourites, Wilbur Smith and Clive Cussler frequently. I read quite a few of those but often found them too violent for my taste although the historical parts were interesting. Stephen King is still popular, whenever his books came in they didn’t stay long. I don’t care for horror but I did read 11/22/63 which was a good book although it was not easy for me to read. (Thanks to Marilyn for the recommendation. I wouldn’t have picked that one up on my own.) I read “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” and its sequels on the recommendation of a friend too and found them very absorbing but wouldn’t read them again (violence). I read historical fiction which while I don’t expect it to be 100% accurate I prefer to at least be plausible and I sometimes read detective novels and even the occasional bodice ripper.
One of the most frequently donated series of books at the Op Shop was the “50 Shades of Grey” series. I think that as of last month there were three complete sets and we’d already moved on at least one other. I wondered why these books turned up so often? Do people really like them or did they just buy them because everyone was talking about them?
I was given a copy of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” when I was maybe nine or ten years old and since that time it has been one of my favourite stories. For me Christmas is not the same without it and every year I either reread my book, yes I still have the same copy; or I watch one of the TV or movie versions of the story.
Dickens can be a bit wordy, I like the stories but the writing style is different with very long sentences so you need to be able to concentrate. However, “A Christmas Carol” is a shorter story so it is more readable.
I didn’t realise until I sat down to write this how many versions of this story had been filmed. I knew that there was at least one animated version, a Muppet version and several modern takes on the story as well as the traditional ones. Here is a list of feature-length and animated films but there have also been short films.
The Right To Be Happy – This 1916 silent movie was the first full-length film version of A Christmas Carol, starring Rupert Julian in the Scrooge role.
A Christmas Carol – Another silent movie version from the United Kingdom, this 1923 film stars Russell Thorndike, Jack Denton, Forbes Dawson and Nina Vanna.
Scrooge – Seymour Hicks reprises his role as Scrooge in this 1935 release.
A Christmas Carol – 1938 version with Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart and Kathleen Lockhart.
Scrooge – This 1951 release, starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge, along with Mervyn Johns and Hermione Baddeley. Considered by many to be the best version of A Christmas Carol on film.
Scrooge – 1970 musical starring Albert Finney and Alec Guiness as Scrooge and Marley’s Ghost, respectively. This is the film many of us grew up watching.
Scrooged – Modern adaptation from 1988 starring Bill Murray as a tv producer who doesn’t understand the spirit of Christmas.
The Muppet Christmas Carol – A 1992 film that was targeted for children, using the famous puppets created by Jim Henson.
A Christmas Carol – 1999 feature-length tv film starring Patrick Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge. If you want to consider only feature films that played at the cinema, leave this one off the list. It’s a faithful adaptation, though.
Disney’s A Christmas Carol – 2009 “performance capture” film, with Jim Carrey starring as Scrooge, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Future. Released on November 4, 2009. (U.S.)
A Christmas Carol – 1971 animated short by Richard Williams, later famous for directing Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Starred Alistair Sim, reprising his role from 1951.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol – 1983 short film starring the most famous Walt Disney characters, with none other than Scrooge McDuck, naturally in the role of Scrooge. Disney’s first version of A Christmas Carol.
A Christmas Carol – Lesser-known straight-to-video animated version by Jetlag Productions, an American-Japanese studio.
A Christmas Carol – 1997 – Animated film featuring the versatile Tim Curry as Scrooge and also starring Michael York, Whoopi Goldberg and voiceover master, Ed Asner.
Christmas Carol: The Movie – Ambitious 2001 animated film by Illuminated Films, using voices of famous movie stars like Nicholas Cage, Kate Winslet and Simon Callow.
A Christmas Carol – This 2006 film uses computer animation and anthropomorphic animals to tell the story of Scrooge.
Barbie in a Christmas Carol – 2008 film loosely based on A Christmas Carol, from the seemingly endless series of Barbie animated movies.
I am a traditionalist so I like the Albert Finney version. I’m not sure if I have seen any of the earlier ones. I love The Muppets so naturally, I like “A Muppet Christmas Carol” as well. I also quite like “Scrooged” as a modern-day story even though I don’t care for the slapstick element so much I forgive them because I love the musical number at the end of the movie.
I have not seen the Patrick Stewart version but I do have an audiobook of him reading the story and I think that will be my chosen way to enjoy the story again on Christmas Eve.
There are too many Scrooges in the world today. When I read ” Every one of them wore chains like Marley’s Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. ” I can easily imagine Morrison, Dutton, Corman, Hanson and others chained like that. (Feel free to substitute the politicians of your choice). The final chapter is hopeful though. Even a man as miserable as Scrooge could change if he really wanted to.